Making the old city young again

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1st Hachnasat Sefer Torah for Beit Zion
Sept 2, 2014
First Hachnasat Sefer Torah for Beit Zion
A few months ago, Ateret Cohanim successfully established a learning centre for Pre-Army Yeshiva boys in the heart of the Arab commercial centre near the Flowers gate and just down the road from the Damascus gate. Its name is BEIT ZION and until Ateret Cohanim had managed to establish the centre, no Jewish life had been seen in the area. 
Strategic, vital and significant are words that come to mind, when one considers the project and its location.
This week, saw another important milestone, with the bringing of the first Sefer Torah to Beit Zion.(Hachnasat Sefer Torah)
The Torah was primarily sponsored by Dr.Irving and Cherna Moskowitz and was dedicated in the memory of one of their "mechutanim" - Reb Moshe Azriel (Marvin) Mayer z"l, who passed away a few months ago. He left a wife (Rhoda), 5 kids and 32 grandchildren plus a wonderful legacy of "Derech Eretz and a love with pure respect for the Torah, the Rabbis, and every Jew".
The occasion was both inspirational and symbolic as it saw over 150 Jewish men,women and children dancing and singing with a Sefer Torah from the Flowers gate of the Old City to Beit Zion, under the watchful eyes of the Border Patrol Police and many Arab onlookers, who seemed stunned by the occasion.
It was more than symbolic, as this area near the Flowers gate, was the place where the Crusaders massacred the Jewish community in July 1099 and where - "Jewish blood flowed to the knees of the camels and horses" !!
In the crowd were close to 80 young kids from all our families in the Old City, each of whom were given lollypops and a helium balloon. There were Beit Zion Mechina boys, Yeshiva students, and Ateret Cohanim families from the Old City, Kidmat Zion and from the Yemenite Village, who wished to participate in the Mitzvah of writing and bringing the Sefer Torah to a new "home"!!
The ceremony started in the apartment of the Sheshar family in the Flowers gate compound.. The scribe-sofer Gadi Ohana left a number of letters at the end of the Torah, for people to write and fulfil a mitzvah, and once finished, the procession began. It was a beautiful sight  - the chuppah with Sefer Torah and new meil-cover, music and close to 150 people dancing and singing songs of Jerusalem and Torah in the alleyways of the Old City near the Flowers gate. The Arabs may have been shell-shocked but noone cared or really noticed.
Once inside Beit Zion -  and after more dancing in the new Beit Midrash, i spoke about Marvin Mayer z"l and then divrei Torah were given by Aharon Tzohar (Director of mechina), Mati Dan (Founder Ateret Cohanim) and Rabbi Nachmani. 
Of course there was food and refreshments for families and children and the whole atmosphere was electric, appropriate and perfect.
The Sefer Torah was put in the Aron Kodesh after some tehillim and now the Torah has a home and the home has a Torah !!!
For those who wish to be involved with supporting the mechina-Yeshiva in Beit Zion, please contact either the NY or Jerusalem office.
The needs are great and Rosh Hashanah is around the corner.
Teshuva (Repentance) , Tefilla (Prayer) and Tzeddakah (Charity) will G-d willing ensure a blessed decree !!!